HOUSTON, Texas - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis team opened its 2011 season with a tough 7-0 loss to the No. 48 Rice Owls on Tuesday afternoon at Jake Hess Stadium.
The Islanders are now 0-1 on the season while the Owls recorded their first win to move to 1-0.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was without its No. 1 singles and doubles player Mirna Cicak as she recovers from the flu. That required five players to move up a spot in the lineup and featured three sophomores and two freshmen in the top six players against the Owls.
It was obvious the team missed Cicak, who two years ago beat the Owls at No. 1 singles in her first collegiate match. This was the third year in-a-row that the Islanders opened the year on the road at Rice.
"We played a very good Rice team today," said Director of Tennis Steve Moore. "They a Top-25 caliber team in my opinion and very well coached.
"I thought that our team showed good character and fought extra hard knowing we were without our top player and I thought we did a good job overall of the things we can control."
In doubles action, the team of Sandra Burges and Stefania Nicolae lost a close 8-6 match to Jessica Jackson and Daniella Trigo at the No. 3 position. In No. 1 doubles, Doris Kuselj and Bianca Discordia lost an 8-2 final to Ana Guzman and Rebekka Hänle while LeAnne Mascall and Mia Matuszak suffered an 8-2 defeat to Alex Rasch and Dominique Harmath at the No. 2 position.
In singles, Kuselj played the No. 1 player from Rice, bowing out 6-2, 6-1 against the No. 114-ranked Hänle. At the No. 2 spot, Discordia lost 6-0, 6-1 against No. 101-ranked Harmath. Nicolae stood tall and took Jackson to a tiebreaker in the first set before falling 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to Jackson. Burges lost 6-1, 6-1 to Guzman in the No. 4 position, Matuszak took a 6-2, 6-0 defeat at No. 5 singles and Mascall was downed 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6 singles against Rasch.
"I thought we fought hard and with a lot of spirit, I was very proud of Sandra and Stefania playing their first college dual match ever," said Moore. "We're young, so we've got a lot of coaching to do, but I'm excited about what this season holds because I think this team has good character and a lot of potential.
"We've got to work very hard to prepare for our first southland match, which is nine days away."
Next up for the Islanders is a Friday, January 28 match against Central Arkansas. The Southland Conference matchup will be played at a neutral site in Dallas beginning at 6 p.m.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs Rice
Jan 18, 2011 at Houston
(Jake Hess Tennis Stadium)
#48 Rice 7, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0
1. #114 Rebekka Hänle (RICE) def. Doris Kuselj (AMCC) 6-2, 6-1
2. #101 Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. Bianca Discordia (AMCC) 6-0, 6-1
3. Jessica Jackson (RICE) def. Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
4. Ana Guzman (RICE) def. Sandra Burges (AMCC) 6-1, 6-1
5. Kim Anicete (RICE) def. Mia Matuszak (AMCC) 6-2, 6-0
6. Alex Rasch (RICE) def. LeAnne Mascall (AMCC) 6-1, 6-2
1. Ana Guzman/Rebekka Hänle (RICE) def. Doris Kuselj/Bianca Discordia (AMCC) 8-2
2. Alex Rasch/Dominique Harmath (RICE) def. LeAnne Mascall/Mia Matuszak (AMCC) 8-2
3. Jessica Jackson/Daniella Trigo (RICE) def. Sandra Burges/Stefania Nicolae (AMCC) 8-6
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 0-1
Rice 1-0; National ranking #48
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,1,2,5,4,3)